Out of the Rough: U.S. could be in trouble
By Jim Brighters, Senior Golf Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - As an objective golf analyst, this Ryder Cup looked pretty close a month ago.
You knew who'd be on the team and it looked like a pretty fair fight.
Europe was a little top-heavier with Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald and Lee Westwood atop the world rankings, but the Americans were littered everywhere in the top 20.
Now, this Ryder Cup looks more one-sided than a Harlem Globetrotters game.
Since the PGA Championship, which, if you'll recall McIlroy won by a country mile, he's won twice. That can happen, but the problem lies in the fact that others are winning around him.
Sergio Garcia captured the Wyndham Championship to make the team.
Paul Lawrie won the Johnnie Walker Championship to gain some momentum.
And on Sunday, hours before McIlroy romped to another Playoffs victory, Peter Hanson eagled the last hole to win the KLM Open.
That's five wins worldwide by four European team members in the last month.
And the only American winner in that same span? That would be Nick Watney, who will be watching the Ryder Cup from home with a box of Triscuits and an iced tea.
Some Americans are playing really well.
Tiger Woods has been top four the last two weeks.
Dustin Johnson has been top six in all three Playoffs events.
Even Phil Mickelson made an appearance on a leaderboard at the BMW Championship.
But this run the Europeans are on right now has to be a little troubling for U.S. captain Davis Love III.
McIlroy is a story to himself. His game right now rivals the mid-2000s Woods. He's not just winning events, he's crushing the field and not just by margin of victory.
McIlroy is crushing the spirit of his fellow competitors. That was the hallmark of Woods' tenure at the top. If he can take that to the Ryder Cup, it'll be a long three days in Chicago.
But what might be most disconcerting to Love is that his performers he'll need to perform well at Medinah are not.
You could put Webb Simpson on a milk carton since the U.S. Open.
Bubba Watson is the king of top 11s and Matt Kuchar is in the midst of a great middle of the pack run.
Those three guys are critical to the Americans' success and unless they all turn it around at the Tour Championship, they may not outplay their European counterparts.
Hanson is winning, Lawrie is winning and Garcia is winning.
These aren't even heavyweights of the European team. What does it say when the seven, eight and nine guys on the European squad are playing stellar golf and the three, four and five players on the U.S. side aren't getting a sniff?
The Ryder Cup is a different animal than the KLM Open certainly, but Love's guys need to show something at East Lake. Jose Maria Olazabal's players are on point heading into Medinah.
At this rate, McIlroy could probably best the Americans himself. Who cares who he plays with?
"I was going to say, if he needs a partner, I don't mind," said Lee Westwood, who tied for second at the BMW Championship and reportedly is not a close friend of McIlroy's.
Don't wait to turn it on at Medinah, Americans. Start playing well a week from Thursday. Momentum is the biggest part of Ryder Cup success.
That may have come more from an American than an objective golf analyst.
- The Monday finish to the LPGA Tour's Kingsmill Championship was a joke. Paula Creamer and Jiyai Shin played the same hole eight times on Sunday night. Why not vary things? Playing a par-3 might be an easier way to eliminate someone. By going back to the par-4 18th all evening, the tour didn't maximize its chance of this thing ever ending, which, it finally did on Monday morning. Shin won, if you're interested.
- This week off is huge for the guys in the Ryder Cup. It's been a marathon since the Open Championship and this one week, guys like Mickelson, Furyk and Stricker shouldn't touch a club.
- Hanson's victory Sunday was an especially touching one. His 1-year-old son was in the hospital Friday night into Saturday, but he's improving already.
- Movie moment - The debut movie Saturday night on HBO was "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close." No one is saying that all movies should be uplifting or comedies, but I just have no interest in re-living that day, let alone by making the focus about a kid who lost his father. Not for me.
- TV moment - I think Golf Channel's decision to re-air final days of events almost in their entirety is spectacular. Obviously, I'm all in for the Ryder Cup re-broadcasts. Also, they may be entertaining, but I'm just never going to watch USA original programming.
09/10 15:53:44 ET